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North Carolina

Williams, No. 8 seed Heels focused on Villanova

Posted March 19, 2013
Updated March 20, 2013

— North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said Tuesday that his Tar Heels, an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament, will be looking to build on the late-season improvements that propelled them to the ACC Tournament title game when they face Villanova Friday evening. 

"I'm not satisfied, because you always want more," Williams told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 99.9 FM The Fan. "My players want more. We expected them to improve through the season, and that happened. We want more out of them."

Williams and his staff switched up UNC's lineup Feb. 13 against Duke, making sophomore P.J. Hairston a starter four days after falling to then-No. 8 Miami 87-61 in south Florida. 

The change in philosophy – playing a smaller lineup that included just one traditional big man in James Michael McAdoo – paid off, as the Tar Heels (24-10) won eight of their last 10 games. 

"What I wanted to do was get our five best basketball players on the court," Williams said Tuesday. "Putting in P.J. gave us more scoring and more outside to spread the defense to help Dexter Strickland and James Michael McAdoo."

The lineup change was especially beneficial for Strickland, who averaged 8.8 points and 5.1 assists per game in the six-game UNC win streak that started with a 93-81 win over Virginia Feb. 16. North Carolina head coach Roy Williams Williams: We hope we can keep improving

Hairston's numbers were also better, improving from 12.2 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game in the 21 games before the switch to 18.1 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game in the 11 that came after it. His minutes also increased from 19 to 30 per game.

By the time the Tar Heels arrived in Greensboro for the 60th ACC Tournament, they were playing their best basketball. 

"I've loved coaching this team," Williams said. "Trying to do something differently than we've done before. Successful coaches play the same way all the time. Changing styles is hard for coaches."

North Carolina's NCAA Tournament opponent, No. 9 seed Villanova, also had a season of improvement after the Wildcats missed the tourney a season ago.

The Wildcats moved into NCAA tournament contention in January with back-to-back victories over Louisville and Syracuse. Louisville was ranked fifth and Syracuse third at the time of those games.

A North Carolina victory would set up a possible Sunday matchup with No. 1 seed Kansas, which faces No. 16 seed Western Kentucky on Thursday.

Despite his history with Kansas, Williams, who coached the Jayhawks from 1988-2003, said the Tar Heels aren't thinking at all about the third round.

"We're focused on Villanova. If we go out thinking about something other than Villanova, we'll be heading back home," Williams said.

36 Comments

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  • chuckwolff Mar 21, 2013

    With the Big East (8 teams in tournament and 6 ranked) being a much stronger conference than the ACC (four teams in tournament and 2 ranked), I'd give the edge to the Wildcats!

  • Coach K is still GREAT Mar 21, 2013

    View quoted thread


    You are correct sir... my bad.
    But I'm sure you know where I was going with this... :)

    good luck!!!!!

  • VT1994Hokie Mar 20, 2013

    I read all of these. I really don't believe that WRAL has slighted any team from the Triangle. I haven't seen this since this Sportsfan was created.

  • heelsforever Mar 20, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Actually the Heels were a 3 and Weber was a 14. Weber St. won 76-74. They had a 25-7 record and the Heels were 24-10.

    d00k lost 75-70 as a 2 seed with a record of 27-7 to a Lehigh 15 seed with a record of 27-7.

    d00k's loss is only slightly a bigger upset than UNC's loss to Weber. Neither are nothing to be proud of.

  • heelsforever Mar 20, 2013

    View quoted thread



    N&O takes care of the Fack.

  • The Beast On The Hill Mar 20, 2013

    LOL, Isn't that the wral article tbk was asking for? Wonder why the critter didn't comment in there?

    LOL!

  • duane11 Mar 20, 2013

    View quoted thread

    you did, and i did...but, who's counting!

  • zonk Mar 20, 2013

    Poor pitiful State. Maybe they can get an article tomorrow. The whole world is against them.

  • Coach K is still GREAT Mar 20, 2013

    No worries... if Carolina loses, Ole Roy, won't fly back with the team AGAIN... he will be there with his stickers, maybe a hat.. this time... screaming ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK with the rest of the Jayhawks FANS...

  • The Beast On The Hill Mar 20, 2013

    here tbk, I hope this helps... but as you can see, nobody posts over there so I guess nobody cares. it's been on this site for 3 days! LOL!

    http://www.wralsportsfan.com/owls-wolfpack-to-clash-in-dayton-for-round-2/12235190/

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